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Taxes, Elections, Prices and Congress Returns: Advisor Briefing for the Week of September 13, 2010

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Last week, President Obama sought to focus attention on the economy by way of proposing that the Bush-era tax cuts be extended for the middle-class (i.e., couples with less than $250,000 in annual income) while those for the “wealthy” should be allowed to expire when those EGTRRA and JGTRRA cuts sunset at year-end.

Already this week, the Republican party is responding, with House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) telling Bob Schieffer on Face the Nation Sunday morning that “If the only option I have is to vote for those at $250,000 and below, of course I’m going to do that. But I’m going to do everything I can to fight to make sure that we extend the current tax rates for all Americans.” If you’re wondering exactly what is the size of the Federal budget deficit, you can read Congressional Budget Office Director Douglas Elmendorf’s blog and view the CBO’s latest estimate that the deficit for 2010 will exceed $1.3 trillion, $71 billion below last year’s total and $27 billion lower than the amount that CBO projected in March 2010.

On Sunday, September 12, negotiators reached agreement on new capital requirements for banks under the Basel III talks.

On the afternoon of Monday, September 13, the Senate returns to work (the House convenes on September 14; the target date for adjournment prior to the mid-term elections is October 8).

On Tuesday morning, September 14, the Census Bureau releases advance monthly retail sales for August, along with manufacturing and trade inventories, while additional reports on retail sales comes from the ICSC-Goldman report and Redbook.

The Department of Labor will hold two days of hearings on lifetime income options on September 14 and 15.

The Solar Policy and Economics Forum USA convenes for a two-day meeting in Washington, while the first of two days of talks in the second round of Palestinian-Israeli direct peace negotiations takes place in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, with the assistance of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

On Wednesday morning, September 15, the Bureau of Labor Statistics releases its import and export price indexes, while the Federal Reserve releases its industrial production and capacity utilization report.

The House Ways and Means Committee holds the first of two days of hearings featuring Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner on China’s rising currency, the yuan. The House Financial Services Subcommittee on Capital Markets will hold the sixth in its series of hearings on “The Future of Housing Finance,” focusing on the role of the GSEs Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Senator Chris Dodd’s Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs will hold a hearing on covered bonds on September 15; Melanie Waddell wrote on the use of covered bonds in the U.S. on September 10.

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and the SEC will hold a public roundtable in Washington on issues related to swap execution facilities.

In Brussels on the 15th, the European Commission is set to adopt measures providing for greater supervision of derivatives trading, short selling and credit default swaps.

On Thursday, September 16, comes the release of the producer price index (PPI), the Philadelphia fed manufacturing index, weekly jobless claims, and the Federal Reserve report on the money supply (Richard Bove wrote cogently about the money supply in a September 11 Op-Ed piece in the New York Times).

In Washington on the 16th, the full House Financial Services Committee holds a hearing on concerns that the Dodd-Frank reform bill exempts the SEC from the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act; Washington Bureau Chief Melanie Waddell reported on those concerns last month.

That same day, the CFTC holds a public roundtable on its proposed Ownership and Control Report (OCR) rule on all trading accounts active on U.S. futures exchanges.

As the business week ends on Friday, September 17, the Bureau of Labor Statistics releases the Consumer Price Index and real earnings reports for August, while the University of Michigan/Thomson Reuters Consumer Sentiment index for September is released.

On Saturday, September 18, Afghanistan will hold parliamentary elections.